June 1, 2012
When I logged in to write this new blog entry, blogger pulled up the stats of my blog. The numbers of page views, comments, impressions. When we see young children exhibit creativity or ingenuity, we quip, “that kid’s going to grow up and change the world.” We are inspired by heroes in our culture and aspire to impact others as we have been impacted. We derive meaning and purpose from what sort of mark we hope to leave in this lifetime. We strive to make impressions. As many and as deeply as we can with the resources we’ve been given.
As Christians we have co-opted this drive to be influential. We couch the intentions with religious language and say, “we are working unto the Lord” and with evangelistic fervor we urgently “reach” as many as we can. We may argue our motivations are more pure than the worldly drive for success because we do it in God’s Name and for His Glory, but the underlying ethos is no different. Let’s build the grandest sanctuaries, lead worship with professional musicians, host quality Sunday School programs, so we can further God’s Kingdom as effectively and efficiently given our resources.
We value visionary leaders and the go-getters. We encourage each other to dream big, to live radically for God. We see the broken world around us and our passions drive us to do more, to help more, to make a difference, to impress God’s love upon our world.
We celebrate biblical teachings like how God can turn a mustard seed of faith into a big tree. We trust that if we just give our five loaves and two fish God can feed thousands.
My name is Cindy and I suffer from a messianic complex. I see a problem and think I am the only solution. Truly this is why I break the stereotype of ageless Asian women by spouting grey hairs prematurely. My personality feeds right into our industrial hype for efficiency. I work with the language of excel worksheets and bullet points. I believe armed with the right tools I can impact the world dynamically for Christ and His Kingdom.
It wasn’t pretty the day I found out I couldn’t, indeed, change the world. Those rosy colored lenses hovering my vision dissipated as I reflected on the fact that even the most powerful man in the world, the president of the States, remains quite limited in his capability to solve just one of our many global problems. I discovered the movers and shakers of society are really mostly jiggling within their rather confined spaces, effecting only a minute segment of the world population.
If even the most charismatic successful people of the world are not really as influential as I thought they were, what the heck do I think I’m going to accomplish? Perhaps this is the time to start considering a theology of enough. I am starting to embrace mediocrity because I am remembering how upside down the Gospel really is in relation to our prevailing cultural values.
Instead of praising the high achievers, we bless those who mourn. The ones who are racked by grief, whose hearts are torn and their faith hanging on by a thread.
Instead of applauding the dynamic communicators, we seek out those who don’t speak. The ones who have completely stopped trying to speak because their voices have been drowned out for too long.
Instead of being inspired by the spiritual giants, we stumble along with those who are falling. The ones who are so messed up inside they can’t find their way out of the tangle.
Because isn’t it true sometimes we offer up our bread and our fish and all it feeds is a few people? Sometimes our faith is just enough to make it through the day, or even half a day, or just the next moment. I think I’m ready to celebrate impacting the world “just enough”.